A Costa Rican Researcher Is Part of The International Pacific Expedition to Evaluate Oxygen Minimum Zone

    Submerging into the deepest part of the ocean

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    Describing the operation of the minimum oxygen zone in the Pacific Ocean implementing state-of-the-art technology will be the objective of Sergio Cambronero Solano, an academic and researcher from the National University (UNA), who joined an oceanographic expedition funded by National Science Foundation (NSF) of the United States.The scientists will carry out their work aboard the R / V Sally Ride, which travels from Puerto Caldera to San Diego, California.

    The areas of minimum oxygen are found in deep waters, in a range from 100 to 1,000 meters approximately.”These are masses of water where oxygen concentrations decrease to almost zero, which is attributed to the decomposition of organic matter that sinks from the surface and that on its way to the bottom, is decomposed by bacteria and microorganisms. This microbial action in conjunction with oceanographic conditions such as temperature and circulation, cause the deoxygenation of the water”, said Cambronero Solano.

    During the expedition, data is taken on marine currents, concentrations of dissolved oxygen, nitrogen, among other physical-chemical parameters.Likewise, microorganisms and plankton are sampled to study their genetics and better understand the species associated with areas of minimal oxygen.

    State-of-the-art technology

    To collect the samples, autonomous robots developed by the participating researchers will be used, which are designed to be deployed offshore and measure for many years while the data collected is transmitted by satellite.

    “These robots represent a technology that could automate the collection of quality data at a lower operating cost. Another component of this research is the study of the relationship of the areas of minimum oxygen in the Pacific with the Thermal Dome of Costa Rica, which is a very productive area in fisheries and of high interest for Costa Rica and the region, added the researcher.

    For the National University, participating in this expedition is of great interest, since it represents a unique opportunity to collect hydrographic and hydrodynamic observations of the Papagayo outcrop, the Thermal Dome and the anticyclonic eddies generated by the Papagayo wind jet for those who cannot small Costa Rican boats arrive.

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